The Long Gaze Back – A Giveaway!

To celebrate Irish women writers, I am delighted to host a very exciting giveaway on the blog this week.


I will be giving away a hardback copy of The Long Gaze Back, an anthology of short stories by Irish female writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson along with a copy of Maeve Brennan’s novella The Visitor, from which The Long Gaze Back takes its name.

The Long Gaze Back was published last year to showcase the many women writers in Ireland whose work has been overlooked in the past. The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories was published in 1989 and included only 7 women writers out of 39 stories. Worse still, the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing published in 1984 contained no women writers at all.

In 2001, Evelyn Conlon and Hans Christian Oeser edited a collection which aimed to redress the balance. Cutting the Night in Two featured short stories from 34 Irish female writers which made it clear that these writers had always been out there, they just weren’t being heard.

The Long Gaze Back follows on from this, featuring as it does 34 writers and spanning 218 years. The collection includes stories from Maria Edgeworth, Charlotte Riddell and Norah Hoult and includes 22 living writers, all of whom have included stories never before published.

The Long Gaze Back is a substantial harvest, a seriously comprehensive and celebratory volume.                                                                     The Irish Times

Sinéad Gleeson has described the anthology as a triptych, featuring deceased classic writers; well established writers from the last decade like Anne Enright and the new voices currently emerging from Ireland – Belinda McKeon, Mary Costello and Lisa McInerney. The themes covered in the anthology show the breadth and depth of issues facing women today and throughout history – emigration, pregnancy, loss, capitalism, motherhood, ghosts, art and much more.


The Long Gaze Back was the winner of the Best Irish-Published Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2015

There’s nothing girly about these stories; there are no clichés, no Mr. Rights, no wedding bells, no evenings with Chardonnay. Instead, this collection represents the richness of women’s lives, past and present. The joy, the compassion, the anger, the sadness. It’s all there.                                                                                    Sunday Independent

Maeve Brenan’s novella The Visitor was written in the mid-1940s but was only discovered in a university archive and republished in 2006.


It tells the haunting story of Anastasia King, who, at the age of 22, following the deaths of her parents, returns to her grandmother’s house in Ireland where she lived as a child.  However, instead of solace, she finds coldness and intransigence from her grandmother and comes to realise that refuge may not lie in the past after all.

The Visitor is the work of a sure hand…and Brennan’s prose is terse and exquisitely precise throughout…Only in the work of Emily Dickinson can the same ferocious vision – of love, pain, transgression and death – and economy of expression be found.                                 The Guardian


Maeve Brennan


If you would like to win these two fantastic books, simply comment below telling me either your favourite Irish woman writer or just your favourite woman writer and you will be entered into the draw which will take place on Friday.

Good luck!



Ireland Month

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

67 Comments Leave a comment

  1. What a lovely giveaway! My favourite Irish woman writer has to be Elizabeth Bowen – her prose is just gorgeous. Woman writer generally? Wow – I’d be stuck choosing between Woolf, Colette, Dorothy Richardson….. That’s a hard one! Very keen to read Maeve Brennan, so fingers crossed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Molly Keane is my favourite Irish woman writer. I lover her exquisite prose, the way her characters drift in and out of each other, and the consequences of all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Claire Keegan for her calming ways.

    Her writing is so well crafted – clear, clean and precise, but also completely beautiful and evocative. Despite the frequently chilling themes, reading her is like sitting back in a sun trapped winter garden with a sea view.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah these are all interesting reads!

    My most favorite woman writer would be Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the books I am thankful to have read in my early teens. Another one would be Martha Grimes. I love her wit and humor, and her mysteries are always written with heart. Her Richard Jury series have made me cry, laugh, ponder and dream. Her novels never fail to entertain.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My favourite women writers are Miriam Toews and Alice Munro. My favourite Irish women writers are Elizabeth Bowen and Emma Donoghue. (I can never only choose one!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read nearly enough Irish literature to be able to say with authority who my favorite woman writer is, but I really liked what I’ve read of Edna O’Brien and Elizabeth Bowen so far. And Mary Costello’s Academy Street is so beautiful that I’d love to read more of her writing. And in case you’ve forgotten my many comments about Maggie O’Farrell, I have to add her here as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This may be the best giveaway I have seen in 2016! Congrats, Cathy! If international entries are allowed (Spain) I would love to enter. I have longed for short stories of lately, and despite my love for anything Irish, I have to admit I am not well-read in Irish literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very fond of Edna O’Brien.

    I enjoyed Danielle McLaughlin’s short story in The Stinging Fly recently (the name of which escapes me) and can’t wait to get Dinosaurs On Other Planets.

    These books would be nice to add to my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a hard choice. I think my favorite Irish Author would have to be Edna O’ Brien followed closely by Anne Enright but then I am leaving out Nuala O’Faolain! I adored ‘The Visitor’ – it was one of those borrowed books that nearly did not return to its rightful owner so I would be delighted to win a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m ashamed to say I don’t have a favourite Irish woman writer, since I’ve read practically none – which is exactly why I need this book! 😉 My favourite woman writer has to be Jane O’Austen, and I bet she had some Irish blood in her veins somewhere…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I must admit I haven’t read nearly as many Irish writers as I should, but one of my favourite female Irish writers to date is Maeve Binchy. I’m looking forward to adding some more onto my tbr list soon though!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Such a great giveaway 🙂 I’m really keen to read Maeve Brennan since your review of The Rose Garden. Many of my favourite authors have already been named, so I’ll just give a little mention to Eimear McBride – she may have only written one novel so far, but what a debut it was!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There are a few of my favorite Irish writers mentioned already but I have to mention one of my favorites from when I was young, Marita Conlon-McKenna. I loved Under the Hawthorn Tree and my heart ached for the O’Driscoll children! My favorite female authors include Edith Nesbit (the imagination), Jean Auel (the historical accuracy) and Jane Austen (the Mr Darcy 😊)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oooh, a very enticing giveaway indeed!
    There has been such a staggering boom in new Irish women writers that it’s really hard to pick. However, Emma Donoghue has been a huge favourite with me – both Hood and of course Room are masterpieces. I also read Claire-Louise Bennett’s debut collection, Pond, over Christmas, and was completely blown away!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Marita Conlon McKenna and June Considine would be fav’s of mine from my childhood.

    In adulthood, I think Marian Keyes is great (and much maligned for being ‘popular’ unfortunately, but she has a very distinctive style)

    In general, many of my favourite writers are women – Margaret Atwood, Lionel Shriver, Donna Tartt, Tana French – I could go on all day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Another vote here for Claire Keegan. I am in awe of the emotional power her writing holds, yet she never resorts to the mawkish, schmaltzy sentimentality so often passed off as “emotion”.
    Hard to do the “favourite of all time” thing, but I have recently read quite a bit of Katherine Mansfield and found her very impressive. Would love to read Maeve Brennan.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Definitely want to read more by Irish women. I do love the work of Nuala O’Faolain but am very eager to read more by Edna O’Brien and many others mentioned here.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My favourite is definetely Emer Martin, an author who (in my opinion) has not received the attention she deserves. Her last novel Baby Zero is a must read in these times! I also love Emma Donoghue, or Éilís Ní Dhuibhne among many other brilliant Irish women writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What an exciting giveaway! I’m honestly just excited to find out The Long Gaze Back exists.

    My favorite Irish woman writer is Melissa Hill. I know not everyone appreciates contemporary chick lit, but I love her sense of plot and plot twists.

    Liked by 1 person

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